“For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He[even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (Amplified Bible)
This is one of the most famous and oft-quoted verses in all the Bible. But do we really understand it? Have we really sat down and considered what it means for us?
“For God so (greatly) loved and dearly prized the world…”
I love the Amplified Bible’s version of this verse because it truly portrays how God feels about the world. But let’s sit back and really ponder these words.
Why in heaven would God love the world that much? If we look at human nature, which hasn’t changed in over 2,000 years, there isn’t all that much that is loveable about us – at least, not from the perspective of an all-knowing, all-seeing, perfect God. We are sinful, imperfect creatures who get upset with one another (even the best of us), hurt each other (even our loved ones), and turn away from God whenever we don’t get our way. In fact, around the world today there is less religion than there has ever been since Jesus came. People are looking more to themselves and less to their loving Heavenly Father.
Obviously, God knew this would happen. And yet…John 3:16 clearly states that God so loved the world.
God is love. And God so loved the world. He doesn’t love us when we love Him. God’s love is unconditional. God loves us even when we aren’t born again. God loves the murderer, the thief, the rapist, the liar. He doesn’t love the sin – He hates sin, despises it more than we can understand. But He loves the person. He wants every person in the world to accept His Son and be saved – no exceptions.
Can we really understand that kind of love? I think parents can understand it a little more than most. When you hold that baby in your arms for the first time, you feel such an overwhelming love. You would do anything to protect your baby. You would sacrifice anything to take care of him or her. That is God’s love for us – times 1,000,000!
In fact, God did sacrifice everything because of His love for us. John 3:16 continues to say that God sent His one and only Son to save the world. God gave up all His omnipotent power and was born of a virgin into a human body. A baby, in fact. Born in the humblest circumstances possible. Jesus led a sinless life and died, unfairly, on a cross to take on all our sins. He didn’t have to. We couldn’t make Him do it. God allowed it because He loved us so much – even in our sin. There is nothing we could do that would make God love us less or more because His love is unconditional and eternal.
If you are a parent, could you imagine what that must have been like for God? His Son, His one and only Son, so precious to Him, was crucified for us. Us, unworthy creatures, who screamed for His death. We took an innocent man and killed Him. Could you imagine your child crucified on a cross, one of the most painful deaths imaginable, for committing crimes of which you knew he or she was innocent? Yet Almighty, all-powerful God allowed that because He loves us so much.
And, God would do it all over again because of that love. He would die again and again for our sins if that was what was required. Thankfully, He only needed to shed His blood once to cover our sins for all of eternity.
Now, what can we do to thank Him? We can celebrate that love by loving and teaching others of God’s great love for us! A great way to do this is to advertise John 3:16, which can open doors of conversation to others.
Here at All Things By Faith, we have plenty to offer to show others how much God loves them.
So, don’t let John 3:16 be just a verse – let it become a way of life! Show the love of God every day wherever you go.